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Returns on new rooms

Published:Sunday | June 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
A night view of the KIG Old Hope Road showroom.
A Subaru Forester inside the KIG Old Hope Road showroom.
KIG's 21-25 Old Hope Road, St Andrew, showroom.
Vehicles on the showroom floor of Toyota Old Hope Road.
A man arrives for the grand opening of the new Toyota Jamaica location at 93 Old Hope Road, St Andrew, in February.
Michael McGrane, branch manager, Toyota Jamaica Old Hope Road, beside the window through which customers can see the facility's service area.
The sign at Toyota Jamaica Limited's new branch at 93 Old Hope Road, St Andrew.
Guests at the opening of Toyota Jamaica's new location in February this year.
Jeep has a strong presence at the new KIG showroom.
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Toyota Jamaica and Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG) are almost neighbours along Spanish Town Road, St Andrew. And within months of each other, they opened new showrooms on Old Hope Road, also in St Andrew, but in a different side of the city and much further apart than at their Spanish Town Road headquarters. Toyota Jamaica is at 93 Old Hope Road, close to Liguanea, while KIG occupies 21-25 Old Hope Road.

Now, both KIG and Toyota Jamaica report that their new locations have already resulted in increased sales, justifying the expenditure.

Judith Denton, KIG's sales and marketing manager, told Automotives that the upswing has been especially noticeable on the Subaru and Ford brands, describing the former as a "premium Japanese brand" which has not had the exposure it deserves. On the Ford side, the movement has been good in two vehicles at different ends of the SUV line - the Everest seven-seater and the much smaller Ecosport. Jeep also has a strong presence.

PRIME LOCATION

The additional KIG showroom was opened in October 2015. With the showroom on the outskirts of the New Kingston business district, as well as on the well-travelled route between Liguanea and Cross Roads, Denton also noted the location's proximity to the Golden Triangle, a high-income residential area.

She is also very happy with the way the showroom extends along the road.

"You don't get that sort of storefront anymore," Denton said. The KIG Old Hope Road location is where a Volvo dealership was once sited.

Among the intended improvements are the interior's ambiance and the signage on both sides, as it is at the intersection of Old Hope and Orchard roads.

In February, Toyota Jamaica added the Old Hope Road facility, complementing not only its Spanish Town Road base, but also the Montego Bay, St James, location. Howard Foster, sales and marketing manager, told Automotives that it is "doing very well. A lot of our customers say they love the convenience".

The new full-service facility offers service as well as sales, and customers are able to access servicing as they would at the older locations. This is being heavily utilised.

"It is doing better than planned, and it is early days yet," Foster said. For sales, this is so much so that an additional sales representative has been assigned to the four stationed there initially.

One of the Old Hope Road branch's unique features is a lounge area through which customers can see the service area. The transparency is being utilised, and as it also has a monitor for the building's extensive solar set-up, it engages the customers in other ways.